A Digital pageant of Literature and the Arts by Daniel Sleeman, Hampton College

A Virtual festival of Literature and the Arts by Daniel Sleeman, Hampton School

The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted many celebrated occasions, be it the famend music pageant Glastonbury or the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Video games. Nonetheless, the pandemic was not in a position to get in the way in which of the Hay pageant, a preferred occasion operating by means of late Could with the main target of celebrating literature and humanities. 

The Hay Pageant, based in 1998 by Norman, Rhoda and Peter Florence has since turn into a worldwide occasion with individuals from all continents travelling to the center of Herefordshire, the place a small picturesque city named Hay-on-Wye stands. The pageant has a terrific vary of matters, for instance, within the 2016 yr there have been talks from US Senator Bernie Sanders and from the Pussy Riot band member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, an inspiring Russian activist who served time in jail having been convicted of “hooliganism motivated by non secular hatred” after a live performance in a Moscow Cathedral. The pageant additionally yearly attracts 1000’s of individuals and households. Invoice Clinton, a earlier American president, hailed the pageant the “Woodstock of the human thoughts”. 


This yr the world confronted an issue like by no means earlier than: the coronavirus pandemic. And so, the a lot cherished Hay pageant needed to shut its bodily doorways for the primary time in simply over 20 years. As a substitute, the pageant was held just about, with the vast majority of audio system and authors nonetheless with the ability to ship an array of fascinating talks.


A number of the performances to characteristic on the primary day have been the soloist of the Royal Ballet, Fernando Montaño. He danced the ‘Loss of life of the Swan’ from his lockdown studio in Los Angeles with this charming and delicate dance accompanied by readings from his memoir ‘A Boy with a Lovely Dream’. One other presentation was that of the well-known polymath Stephen Fry, who spoke in regards to the third a part of his Greek trilogy. Usually in most talks, the viewers could be allowed to ask questions and it was very spectacular to see the usage of the chat operate which allowed the digital viewers to current their questions. 


The following few days adopted with numbers of intellectually stimulating talks. Some which have been significantly fascinating have been that of Dame Sally Davies, who was the Chief Medical Officer for England between 2011 and 2019. Dame Sally spoke about how the invention of Penicillin, by Sir Alexander Fleming in 1928, has proved influential in overcoming many medical issues within the type of bacterial infections. Nonetheless, it has been over 20 years since we final found a brand new class of antibiotics. On this time, micro organism has gained resistance to generally used antibiotics. It is a key risk to future generations.


An extra intriguing discuss was David Spiegelhalter’s discuss on the Artwork of Statistics. A principal focus was to spotlight how we are able to use statistics and knowledge to achieve essential data and perceive the world higher. I discovered this significantly pertinent to our lives as, in the intervening time, all we see is charts and figures documenting totally different features of the coronavirus, might or not it’s loss of life charges for various nations or how sharply circumstances are inclining or declining. Having the ability to perceive and interpret that is essential not just for our comprehension but additionally our psychological wellbeing. For instance, just lately (as of mid October 2020) coronavirus circumstances have accelerated to three occasions what they have been within the ‘peak’ in Could. Nonetheless, if we evaluate this knowledge with the variety of checks applied each day, we are able to clearly see that this knowledge is far much less alarming as now there are lots of extra checks carried out every day. 


The Hay Pageant completed on Sunday the 31st of Could after just below 100 talks. This lockdown spotlight was shared between 1000’s of individuals all around the world, all united in a pageant to have a good time the fantastic thing about arts and literature. Wanting ahead to future occasions, there may be set to be a 3 day winter programme in late November and the grand summer time 2021 occasion continues to be scheduled to occur, albeit there may be uncertainty over whether or not it is going to be carried out bodily. However one factor is definite, the Hay pageant 2020 was a hidden jewel of the countless lockdown interval. 




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